In November 2020, whilst I was living in Shetland, I made a new hat design called Good Wishes for the New Year – the story of its making is here
If you have been following my story, you will know that the hat pattern was entirely inspired by a beautiful woman called Susan Halcrow, who lived in the same croft house that I had bought in Shetland, from 1876 to 1960. This was the beginning of a love story, not only with the house but with finding Susan then knitting designs inspired by her life that I uncovered at the Shetland Museum Archives. I had the honour of connecting to her life, by living in the same house – her house, as she had so many years before. I treasured the memory of this woman through the return of her artifacts to the house (jugs, bowls, plates and glasses) and by being handed photographs of her. The first design that was inspired by Susan was Good Wishes for the new year. It is a hat designed and named after a note she wrote on the bottom of her Christmas cards one year. Below is the note on the card – just look at her serene beauty.
I sat in that croft house and opened that same door as she would have done, and looked out of the same window as she did and I connected to what I knew would be the colours around her when she lived in the house. I went on to knit 3 more designs based around Susan and my life in the house that she had also lived in – Dear Susan has an 11 page story along with the design and that is here. It is a story I am particularly proud of.
I have just designed a little pair of mitts that will match the Good Wishes for the New Year hat and the Good Wishes beret and, although this is a very small pattern, of no great consequence, it has suited me to make them whilst I have been searching for a home back to Sheffield, after returning from living in Shetland.
After 8 full months of living in 8 differnt places and the cats in 6 places, I have finally secured a place to call home. It is broken and a little ugly. nothing is nice except the area, the light that streams in and the neighbours, whom I do know because ironically, the flat is in the same set of flats where I sold one to go live in Shetland in 2020, yes really, but the one I sold was lovely, wheras this is a shell and I will be starting again, again.
But, I am happy to be back in the city, with a box flat and little else. It is where I belong, where I can be me – I don’t really belong anywhere and have realised that I have been searching for a long time – but living in Shetland was too isolating and lonely for me as well as other things that I found difficult – the constant wind, for one. I will explain this when I write the book because, In September, I hope to return to Shetland to write about my year in Smola, Levenwick. I will stay with my good friend Mati Ventrillon on Fair Isle and I will catch up with good friends in Shetland but I will not go to see my beautiful house. It will feel a little painful to have let it go and no one could love it as much as I did. And maybe Susan did.
but I have no regrets because – what a year I had and I went for my dream – both feet and I did it – I achieved what I wanted to do though I didn’t think I would be coming back.
A friend of mine came down south a couple of weeks ago. When she was sailing into Lerwick from Aberdeen to go home, she said that she looked over at Levenwick and though of my Shetland Self. I thought that was rather beautiful and I miss her. I miss the sun rises and sun sets, the beaches and the whales and my friday fun days with Emma and swimming in the sea with Lyn and I have decided to write about it now that there has been distance between leaving and returning.
So, I will be in Shetland in September and if you would like to support that travel, then, you could buy a knitting pattern that I have designed. They are here. the small income from each pattern sold, will go towards my travel to Fair Isle.
the new mitts pattern is here.
and I would appreciate any pattern purchase to help me with my travel costs for the long trip north.
there is a photo tutorial in the pattern on how to knit your ‘after thought thumb’.
and if you would like me to report on anything from Fair Isle let me know. Mati and I might do some live instagram sessions. I will also be doing a couple of online colour blending workshops whilst there so let me know if you are interested by signing up here
Releasing this little mitts pattern in a heatwave seems silly but I wanted to share it with you. It is a bargain price of £3 – the cost of a cup of coffee in a local cafe but you will have this for ever.